Sharing my recent struggles with anxiety due to the ongoing shortage of PSW

I’m hoping that the “Rolling Thunder” will be gone by the time this article comes out.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against protesting, and I do love motorcycles, but with the convoy/occupation still fresh in my mind, I was nervous when I first heard about Rolling Thunder.

It’s early Saturday evening as I’m typing this. I realize that a lot can happen between now and Monday. So far, things seem less chaotic. I got some errands done on Bank St without feeling afraid.

I almost feel sad that I felt the need to write that. Nobody should feel scared when they go outside. We live in different times now.

Between the ongoing pandemic, attacks in Ukraine, and the rising cost of almost everything, it’s easy to see why more and more people are experiencing high anxiety.

If you’re a long-time reader of this column, you’ll know that I’ve talked about my ongoing struggles with anxiety.

Most of my anxiety centers around the fact that I currently don’t have enough PSW and nurses to cover the 24/7 care that I require. Things have recently reached the point where my mom had to cover two eight-hour shifts over the Easter Weekend.

I love my mom. She’s always been my #1 supporter, and I wouldn’t be here without her. My mom’s in her 70s. She would never admit it to me, but it took a toll on her.

As for myself, yes, it was also very awkward at times, but that’s minor compared to the much bigger issue of a shortage of caregivers.

The scariest part is that if nobody can come in, including my mom, my only option is to go to the hospital. For at least eight hours, I would be surrounded by people with Covid and nurses who aren’t familiar with my care.

For me, that would be my personal Hell.

One could say that it’s only eight hours and could be worse. You’re right. It COULD be worse. As I pointed out, though, things HAVE gotten worse over the years.

I started noticing about 5- 10 years ago if I recall correctly. There seemed to be fewer and fewer people applying for PSW jobs, at least to me and others who were also seeking PSW.

And now, we’ve reached a point where sending me to a hospital during a pandemic is considered a safer option.

I’m afraid to see what things will be like in another ten years or less.

Some of you may be wondering why I’m writing about this.

First and foremost, I can’t stop thinking about the shortage of caregivers and the constant fear of being forced to go to the hospital. Sometimes, it’s good to talk about things.

The other main reason is that I’m sure that I’m not the only PWD in the world, or Ottawa, with the same fear. I hope this will inspire others to share their story, either with me or elsewhere.

It’s been my experience that the fears & concerns of people with disabilities often get dismissed or ignored.

People often also “forget” that people with disabilities have feelings, including fear and anxiety. We also have needs. Needs such as a need to feel safe, respected, and listened to.

We shouldn’t have to feel punished because there’s not enough PSW. It’s not our fault that we were born physically disabled or became disabled due to medical reasons.

It’s not our disabilities that make us feel disabled. It’s your perception of us that does.